This Unit 1 World Geography Guide was created by combining Fink’s 3 Column Table (Fink, 2013) and Collins’ Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) (Collins, 1994). These two components create a map or guide which the educator follows to lead to students to overall learning goals for a course. The BHAG is the overall goal in which after the completion of the unit students should show mastery. The 3 Column Table combines with the BHAG to show important sections of the pathway that help lead to student mastery of the BHAG. By setting a BHAG and using the 3 Column Table system, educators have a higher probability of having students reach specific learning outcomes, because the goal and 3 table planning template move through a step by step process towards a goal while still allowing some flexibility. Therefore, it is important for educators to consider their BHAG and create 3 Column Tables in order to ensure their success in reaching learning outcomes.

 

Here is my example of what my BHAG and 3 Column Table look like for teaching World Geography, Unit 1: The Geographer’s Eye. I hope you will use it to accomplish your own unique learning outcomes.


Course Goal: Learners will be able to explain how physical geography shapes human geography to create unique, foreign cultures; identify cultural differences and their biases; and be better able to understand and befriend culturally different people.

 

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – Unit Goal: Learners will be able to identify and apply geography concepts to their daily lives to better understand the world around them.

 

Learning Goals Assessment Activities Learning Activities
Foundational

Learners will be able to explain the focus of geography studies; identify and explain geographer’s tools, and understand earth science processes that create various landforms.

World Map Creation
Key Concepts Notes Foldable
Vocabulary Quiz
Reflective Writing
World Map Creation
Introduction: What is geography? What is the focus of Geography? Geography key concepts: place, scale, movement, region, location, human environment interaction
Vocabulary Activity

(Mix & Match, I have/who has, TPR…)
Writing Practice using vocabulary to explain why geographer’s need to know earth science
Clarify-Verify/Reflective journal writing on vocabulary

Application

Learners will analyze types of maps and map projections to become familiar with maps and map features

Map Comparison Activity
Journal Check
Test
Test Reflection/Analyses
Introduction: Map Types
Reading & Map Comparison Activity
Map Projections:

Simulation

-cutting a ball into flat map
Triangle Map Distortion Simulation
Reading/KIM Chart
Reflective Journal Writing

Integration Stage 1

Learners will be able to locate longitude and latitude of cities across the world using a variety of map types and map projections.

Longitude and Latitude Activity Interactive demonstration video
Long/Lat Riddle Activity

Family Spatial Analysis Activity
Reflective Journal Writing

Integration Stage 2

Learners will use spatial analyses to compare locations of cities across the globe to determine relationships between humans and environments

Spatial Analysis Project Spatial Analysis Project

(Students plot locations of group’s family members and where families have moved to, questions and comparisons follow)

Human Dimensions

Learners will collaborate their ideas with a partner to apply geography concepts to their daily lives.

Reflective Application of concepts, lessons, activities Interview a family member who has moved
Think/Pair/Share
Reflective Journal writing

Considerations that went into this course plan can be found below:

Situational Factors

Questions for Formulating Significant Learning Goals


In creating a 3 Column Table for World Geography, I started with accounting for situational factors that will impact the environment. First, the immediate classroom setting consists of white walls with a moderate amount of decorations in an attempt to bring color into the room, a giant map, two walls covered with white board space, a teacher computer connected to the internet with an overhead projection. Overall the class size is about 28 students per one teacher, ages are 13-15, students are culturally and economically diverse. In general, students come into geography with little interest or knowledge about the study of geography, after having history for several years they expect it to be another history class. Students do have some geography skills and knowledge, however; they can interpret maps, can locate longitude and latitude lines including the equator, and can locate and label most of the continents and oceans of the world. In order to boost interest in geography I will try to create authentic projects and incorporate social and reflective opportunities to increase participation and engagement in students.

One of the situational factors that will likely disrupt student learning is cell phones. In order to account for cell phones I will have a cell phone policy in place, give daily reminders, model when and how to use cell phones, and hold all students accountable to the cell phone policy. Another factor that will likely impact student learning is tardies and absences. In order to combat these situations I will have warm ups in place that encourage student’s participation and reflection. For absent students, I will also have all class lessons posted to our class website. In order to make the website more effective I will model how students should use the website and highlight all the features of the site that they can use. After modelling, I will allow them to practice navigating through the website in a treasure hunt. Finally, I will post navigation guide videos to the site and quiz students on the website features and class policies.

Another consideration impacting the environment is the expectations of the administration. The administration requires that world geography teachers teach the state standards required by by law (Teks) for world geography. In order to check that this is occurring, the administration tracks student growth and performance through summative assessments at the end of every 9-weeks’ grading period. These tests are created by a curriculum specialist that is not present in the classroom, but aligns questions to the Teks. These tests require test prep days and a day to review the test and allow reflection. In order to better prepare for these tests and follow state teaching expectations, lesson plans will need to be aligned to the Teks and keep up with a pacing calendar that is designed by the teachers and the curriculum specialist. In order to ensure students perform well on these summative tests, plenty of opportunities for informal and practice summative assessments will need to be given and followed by corrections and reflection on theses assignments.

In this particular unit students are starting their world geography studies, and high school for that matter, for the first time. These factors also account for special consideration in creating a successful unit. In order to calm student anxieties, promote a fear-free environment, and ensure their success, it will be important to go over classroom expectations, allow the students to understand the overall course and unit goals, and allow the students the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences dealing with geography before beginning the unit. This will take place the first few days before class and will involve reading and signing the syllabus, giving a guide to our high school campus layout, going over class expectations and procedures, modelling how to use the website, and allowing students to share their prior knowledge of geography with me and their classmates. This will all take place before the instruction of the unit begins.

 

Resources

 

Collins, J. C., & Porras, J. 1994. Built to last: successful habits of visionary companies. New York: HarperBusiness.

Harapnuik, D. (2016). Mapping the learner’s journey. Found at http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=6420. Accessed on 6/24/17.

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.
Featured Image

Challis, Stewart. (2017). Goal-setting: four steps to achieving your goals in 2017. Health 2017.  Found at: http://health-bath.co.uk/blog/goal-setting/. Accessed on 7/7/2017.

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